Business Elmwood The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: January 23, 2017

Cafe Louise will transform the New Britain Avenue location into Cafe Louise Express. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

This has been one of the busiest news weeks in West Hartford in quite some time – which is probably one of the reasons I am tired and have to admit that I am drinking a Diet Coke late Sunday night as I write this column.

The week started off with the town’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration, and ended with The Bridge Family Center’s annual Children’s Charity Ball. In between the highlights (there were other stories, too) included a Board of Education meeting, a lengthy public information meeting regarding trash collection, an update on what’s happening with Los Imperios, a bomb scare at the JCC, and Conard vs. Hall basketball. I did not personally attend any of the marches this weekend, but have consolidated the experiences of West Hartford residents who were in Washington, D.C. as well as Hartford with a story and photos.

And the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl!

If you have tips about businesses opening or closing, or doing something worth sharing, please provide that information in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Cafe Louise will transform the New Britain Avenue location into Cafe Louise Express. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cafe Louise will transform the New Britain Avenue location into Cafe Louise Express. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Louise Albin of Café Louise has some big news to share! When our Creative Director Joy Taylor saw that I had uploaded a photo of Café Louise’s 1156 New Britain Ave. storefront, she feared that I was going to report that the longtime business was closing. Quite the opposite! There hasn’t been much activity going on in the space lately, but that’s about to change. On Feb. 1, the West Hartford location will transition to Café Louise Express, a grab and go featuring sandwiches (including the famed tarragon chicken salad with grapes and walnuts), salads, quiches, mac and cheese, frittatas, beef stew, lasagna, fresh baked goods, and more. There will be limited seating for six people inside the space, and cooking workshops ranging from cake and cookie decorating to steamed dumplings/pierogies, and filo techniques will soon be offered. “It’s my 24th anniversary there this month. It’s my flagship,” Albin said of the New Britain Avenue location. She’s the longest-standing tenant in the building and said she has no plans to close the store. The reason some may have had concern is that the recently the space hasn’t always appeared occupied, but that’s because Albin also has another new venture that is keeping her busy. In July she learned about the opportunity to take over the food operations at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington. Albin said she had always hoped to have her own banquet facility, and after a tour she said it “felt right” and looked to be a great opportunity to grow her business. She officially moved into Indian Hill in late October, and other than the baking (pastry chef Shannon Chamberlin has remained in West Hartford, and will manage Café Louise Express), the catering is all being run out of Indian Hill. Albin said she is excited to be able to increase the capacity for special events like her wine dinners which can now accommodate more than 100 rather than just 20 people. Indian Hill Country Club is semi-private, Albin said, and the Café Louise at Indian Hill restaurant, as well as the 19th hole grill, are open to the public. She will also host special dinners for holidays like Valentine’s Day and also launch a revolving art exhibit. The work of painter Anne Bjorkland will be featured beginning Feb. 9. Albin said she will also continue to do offsite catering. “That’s my baby, that’s my first love,” she said. Albin said she manages to do so many things at once because: “I surround myself with great staff.”
  • We have some more good news from Elmwood! Build-out is moving along for GOLFTEC, and co-owner Michelle Souza reports that the the ribbon cutting for the 1146 New Britain Ave. location is planned for March 8, with the grand opening weekend scheduled for March 11-12. The website is up and running with plenty of details about the business.
  • Keeping with the Elmwood theme, additional restaurants have been added to the Taste of Elmwood, which is coming to St. Brigid St. Augustine School on Feb. 2. Goldberg’s Bagels and Sliders Grill & Bar will feed the guests – and another special surprise is expected to be announced shortly! Advance ticket purchases (click here) are encouraged as this event has always sold out.
    Mayor Shari Cantor and members of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce joined Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union for a ribbon cutting on Jan. 18. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

    Mayor Shari Cantor and members of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce joined Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union for a ribbon cutting on Jan. 18. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union had its ribbon-cutting on Jan. 18, and a crowd showed up to welcome the business to 973 Farmington Ave. Nutmeg State is still running its content, in which the business will donate $5,000 to the top vote-getter from among the 16 West Hartford Public Schools. Voting is open through Feb. 16. Click here for more details.
  • This is the last week for the Sears in Corbin’s Corner. The store plans to close on Jan. 28. On Tuesday, the Town Council will hold a public hearing and then consider the application from Seritage for an amended special development district to redevelop the property.
  • First Tee of Connecticut, a statewide youth development organization serving more than 71,000 young people, announced in a press release last week that several West Hartford residents have been named to its board of directors: “Founding Chair Edwin (“Ted”) H. May, III, Paul Mersereau, Esq., and Gary Reynolds (PGA member and former First Tee of Connecticut coach) were each recognized as Emeritus Directors as a result of their tremendous contributions over the years. The First Tee of Connecticut also announced the new Chairman of the Board – David Dixon, Senior VP & Regional Manager of People’s United Bank in Hartford. Mr. Dixon will be joined by six new Board members: Ken Baldwin, Esq., Partner at Robinson & Cole, LLP in Hartford; Tim Bunt, Senior Vice President & Chief Risk Officer of CBRE in Norwalk; Jeffrey L. Cohen, MD of West Hartford, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group’s Chief Physician Officer based in Wethersfield; Bill Flood, PGA, Director of Instruction at Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury; Peter Joyce ,General Manager of Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford; David Marks, CFA, Senior Financial Advisor based in West Hartford and Manu Mazumdar, former President of Arrowpoint Technologies and currently a consultant based in South Windsor. President and Executive Director David Polk is also from West Hartford.
  • Green Teahouse, located at 40 Isham Rd. in Blue Back Square, will celebrate Chinese New Year on Sunday, Jan. 29 featuring free and fun activities. There will be tea and pastry samples, as well as with body painting with Tainted In. from 1-4 p.m., chair massages from 1-5 p.m., and a Chinese Calligraphy-Tea Ceremony Demonstration at 4:30 p.m. RSVP to the Facebook event by clicking here.
  • There’s a national day for nearly everything, and last Thursday was National Popcorn Day. West Hartford’s movie theater, Cinépolis USA (42 South Main St.), shared with us that in honor of National Popcorn Day, a new gourmet popcorn flavor has been added. Ranch popcorn joins other gourmet flavor selections that already included Chili, Caramel, Cheetos, and Tuxedo – in addition to the classic Butter flavor.

Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

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1 Comment

  • Regarding your article on Cafe Louise, I know it is a little nit picky, but since I’ve been going to Elmwood Pizza (next to Cafe Louise) since the 1970’s, I don’t think Louise’s 24 years in the plaza makes her the longest tenant. But I’m delighted to hear of her plans as Elmwood has always been the poor stepchild of West Hartford although places like the excellent Beachland Tavern, Pepe’s Pizza, etc. have raised the consciousness about culinary offerings in Elmwood, where the parking is FREE.

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